Several Factors Combine To Result In Sharp U.S. Open Drop On ESPN
U.S. Open viewership on ESPN suffered a sharp decline in '20 due to several unique factors. Among them: going against a more crowded sports calendar, many marquee players (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Simona Halep) not traveling to N.Y. for the event and more top names (Novak Djokovic, Coco Gauff) not advancing to the second week. ESPN averaged 1.48 million viewers for the men's final on Sunday afternoon, which saw Dominic Thiem win his first major in a five-set thriller over Alexander Zverev. That is down from 2.75 million for Nadal's win over Daniil Medvedev last year, and down from 2.07 million for Djokovic's win over Juan Martin del Potro two years ago. The women's final on Saturday, which saw Naomi Osaka defeat Victoria Azarenka for her second U.S. Open crown in three years, averaged 1.86 million viewers. That was down sharply from Bianca Andreescu's win over Serena Williams last year (3.22 million), which remains ESPN's second-best U.S. Open final on record (men or women). Osaka's win over Williams in '18 averaged 3.1 million viewers. ESPN last year recorded its best viewership figure for the U.S. Open.